Last month during our stay at Beverley Holidays, we were invited to visit Babbacombe Model Village, an attraction described as, “A miniature world world that captures the imagination of all ages”. I won’t lie to you, I was nervous about how the day would go given the fact that, at four, five and six, these three struggle with the concept of “look but don’t touch!”. And yet I had heard some amazing things about it so, with a bag full of bribery, off we went.
Since the village opened in 1963 the park has continued to expand the number of features on display. The village portrays English life and culture over the last 6 decades and although undeniably fun, it is also hugely educational too! With 413 miniature buildings and an estimated population of 13,160 there is literally something new to see on every visit, and my children were mesmerised from the word go.
The girls were convinced that Babbacombe was a miniature fairy village, that the tiny figures were real life fairies (just pretending to be statues so we didn’t notice!) and that this is where they lived together. Seeing it through their eyes was pretty special, and I refused to correct their belief knowing that, at the same age, I would have found it overwhelmingly magical to imagine the same.
Covering early four acres, it is amazing to see just how immaculately kept the gardens are. There wasn’t a single blade of grass out of place, so much so that I found myself marvelling at that just as much as I did the actual displays! With hundreds of varieties of plants, shrubs and trees, the gardens are ever-changing and I can imagine that, with the passing of the seasons, returning to Babbacombe gives a completely different experience every time.
The great thing about the Model Village is that there is something everyone can relate to on some level, no matter what your age. The village has numerous famous landmarks, all to scale, and perfectly created, and it was lovely for both Gaz and I to be able to spot some of our favourites and enjoy the day just as much as the children.
There are also lots of lovely little touches in the villages in the names of the streets, or the activities of the characters, and I could have stood there all day looking at some of the displays, and still leave without noticing every detail.
Harry’s favourite displays were the ones with special effects, either with sounds or, more excitingly, fire!! I think when you’re four years old there is nothing quite as exciting as a fire truck!
Unless of course, it’s a fire breathing dragon!! We must have stood watching that dragon for over half an hour, waiting for him to breathe fire every few minutes as the children screamed in pretend horror!
At the bottom of the Model Village is a water feature where the children could put in £1 and steer a boat, which was a lot of fun even if Eva did spent most of the time going round in circles!
Unsurprisingly, Megan’s favourite part was the royal wedding, ever more so given her new found love of the royal family. And as she admired the palace and the horse drawn carriage she told me, “I can’t believe there’s a fairy Princess Megan too!”.
There is also a 4D cinema at the Model Village which I’m told is fantastic, although we didn’t see it this time. This comes at an additional charge of £1.50 per person.
There is also a miniature golf attraction, a lovely cafe and a gift shop too, meaning you can spend an entire day there should you wish. They also offer a 2 for 1 entry system so that once you’ve paid to enter, you can return at any point within 7 days for free, meaning you can spend another day there or head over for the evening where the whole village is lit up with thousands of miniature lights!
I think the most surprising thing for me was just how much the children loved the Model Village. It takes a lot to holds a child’s attention, and even more to hold my children’s attention, but honestly they were mesmerised by every single part of it and at the end of the day they were still begging for us to stay even when we had seen everything ten times over!
I can see why Babbacombe Model Village is such a long standing, and hugely popular, attraction on the English Riviera, and for those who haven’t visited it really is a must whilst you’re down there. I’ve been raving about it to everyone since we got back, and I imagine the children will still be talking about their day at the “fairy village” this time next year.
We had the best day at the Model Village and can’t wait for our next visit, after all it’s not often you get to visit all of these amazing landmarks in just one day!
For more information visit www.model-village.co.uk
** We were gifted tickets to the Model Village for the purpose of this review. All words and opinions are my own unless otherwise stated **